Linkner in Forbes: Bottomed-out Detroit can only go up from here

Posted on September 4, 2012

Detroit Venture Partners CEO and managing partner Josh Linkner tells Forbes readers that many investors are overpaying for properties in other parts of the country, and the most basic of economic principles suggest now is the time to invest in Detroit.

“The ideal time to infuse capital into something is when it’s at the start of an upward trend, not when it’s already at its peak,” Linkner writes in a Aug. 30 contributing piece titled “Wish You Bought Gold in ’06? You’ll Wish You Bought Detroit in ’12.”

“Detroit has bottomed out,” Linkner writes, “so now, there’s nothing but upside.”

He points to residential real estate in Detroit, where whole mansions in places liek Indian Village can be had for a mere $305,000, while a modest, one-bedroom apartment in Central Chelsea, Manhattan, is listing for $2.3 million.

Linkner adds that real estate prospecting is especially ripe for downtown commercial buildings too, and notes that business partner Dan Gilbert has bought some 3 million square feet of downtown space through Bedrock Real Estate Services.

He points to the 48,000-square-foot M@dison Building as a success story. The building was bought by Gilbert’s firm, renovated and then opened in October 2011, and is now already 100 percent full. (It also houses Linkner’s Detroit Venture Partners).

“Buildings are either bursting at the seams with wait lists, or vacant,” Linkner writes. “Let’s fill more of them while you can buy low now.”

Gilbert and Linkner are not alone in banking on downtown Detroit’s recovery. Toronto-based real estate firm Triple Properties recently bought the State Savings Bank building for $700,000, and now owns four properties in the Central Business District, including the Penobscot Building, which it bought for just $5 million in June.

Triple Properties partner Steve Apostolopoulos told MLive last week that the building has been filling up rapidly, and that the firm is now exploring retail options for the ground levels of its properties.

David Muller, Detroit Free Press